The Ragtime Kid: A Ragtime Mystery #1by Larry Karp
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Brun Campbell, a 15-year-old piano-playing fool, hears Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag” played one 1898 afternoon in Oklahoma City. It’s destiny calling. Asking for ragtime lessons, he’s told, “No, Ragtime is colored music.” So Brun runs away from the family farm to Sedalia, Missouri, to persuade Joplin to take him on as a pupil. What Brun doesn’t expect is to trip over the body of a young woman. He thoughtlessly picks up a couple of items before he rushes away from the murder scene.
When Edward Fitzgerald, a man who befriended Brun his first night in town, is arrested for the woman’s murder, Brun is certain he’s innocent. But if the boy shows anyone the things he pocketed at the scene—things he now knows belonged to Scott Joplin—he’ll point the finger at the composer...and himself.
Brun decides to get Fitzgerald, Joplin, and himself off the hook by finding the real killer, but for that he eventually needs some help from Dr. Overstreet, the alcoholic town mayor; and John Stark, a man pushing sixty, who’s been employing Brun at his music store.
Sedalia is rife with suspects, some of them opportunists bent on stealing Joplin’s music. And then there are the girls and women—mysteries to Brun—like a teenager seized with religious fever, a couple of mischievous prostitutes, and an attractive, ambitious young woman with a hint of scarlet in her past, who further complicate his pursuit of the killer.
Meet the Author
Larry Karp grew up in Paterson, NJ and New York City. He practiced perinatal medicine and wrote general nonfiction books and articles for 25 years, then, in 1994, left medical work to write mystery novels full-time. The backgrounds and settings of Larry's mysteries reflect many of his interests, including musical antiques, medical-ethical issues, and ragtime music. His current book, The Ragtime Fool, the third work in a ragtime mystery trilogy, centers on the work of ragtime revivalists during a 1951 ceremony in Sedalia, MO, and the opposition the ragtimers faced from bigots in that racially-divided time and place, Larry lives with his wife Myra in Seattle; they have two grown children.
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